The Papa Files
by VINCENT CARDEGIN
Award Winning Columnist
The only scene I like in the movie “Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend” (1985) is when George Loomis, played by William Katt, exchanges food with the leader of a local tribe, and after one bite of the granola bar Loomis gives him, the leader spits it out from the side of his mouth. I’m sure his character thought it was too sweet. Lately, I know the feeling.
Usually, I give the internet three tries to provide me with the information I’m looking for, but this time, by two computers and my phone, I attempted twelve times to find the actor who spit out the chewed chunks of oats and honey. The best I could discover is Hugh Ouarshie, but he’s a famous Shakespearian actor, and his credits don’t say what he did in the movie. A better candidate is Kyalo Mativo, but again IMDb does not specify his role. If anyone knows who that guy is, please tell me. (I don’t have the movie, it’s not On Demand, and I don’t want to buy it.)
My idea of a snack has no sugar or honey. I don’t care for raisins in any of my food, cookies, and bread, but I like them with nuts and corn chips in a bowel, as well as other things, like the many mixes of rice crackers including wasabi bits and peas.
Naturally, my wife has all sorts of snacks and treats, in lidded cans and zip lock bags, for her dogs. Interestingly she doesn’t have such things for her cats. Well, reliable bowel movements depend on a consistent diet. I’m sure that’s true for animals and humans the same. So her cats will never have to deal with unpleasant cat box experiences. Good for them. And my wife will never have to deal with scooping granulated puddles of dried feline diarrhea. Good for her.
On top of my microwave, I have two boxes, like little open crates. In the left one, more like a basket, I store a variety of snack cakes. Name a brand and I’ve probably had a package of it there. But in recent months I’ve limited my purchases to a few standards. I will always have a box each of Twinkies and Banana Twinkies in the back for my kids, but in front of them, I will only stock pecan rolls and oatmeal cream pies. And when I can find them, I’ll include the zinger-like chocolate cake that has no sugary filling, just chocolate frosting on the top. Sure, okay, now and then maybe I’ll get jellyrolls and snowballs, but that will be a rare splurge. But that is all mainly for visitors. I hardly touch them anymore. I want snacks that aren’t so packed with sugarcane juice.
In the right box, I used to dump bags of candy bars, mostly bite-sized. That started the morning after a slow night of Halloween, and I kept buying more. But now I stock it with little boxes of cereal. One of my grandkids would sometimes select a classic favorite for his morning meal before I drove him to middle school, but now they serve as the occasional breakfast for my wife, and now and then as my before-bed late supper. I like plain with fresh blueberries. I’ll add sugar to taste if I’m in the mood.
My preferred between-meal food is, of course, jerky. I’ve eaten the dried meat of many animals when I visited Silver Dollar City, but my favorite is still my brother’s recipe. His combination of molasses, brown sugar, teriyaki and other sauces, and powdered onion, garlic, and other savories make his beef jerky both dry and juicy with flavor, and strangely not sweet. I cannot duplicate it after many tries. I believe there’s a step he’s not telling me.
I’ve sampled the expensive store-bought versions, and I am almost always disappointed. Most are like potted meat that’s been dried and cut through a wood chipper. I want long, thick strips of jerky with strands of fibers. Well, I guess I’ll have to reclaim my food dehydrator from my wife, who has been using it to dry herbs and tomatoes and lots of green vegetables. I’ll buy a rump roast and try one more time to make my favorite snack.